I live in Jerusalem with my loving husband, Aziz, and my three young children. I grew up in a religious home and now I work in the Israeli Ministry of Housing. In my free time I volunteer to assist the disabled and those in need. I am also very close to my younger sister Ruhama Raz, the popular Israeli folk singer! She even wrote a song about me called, “As Rachel Waited.” But I would never get to hear it.
On July 6 1989, I was riding on the packed Egged bus No. 405 from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. There were around 40 passengers on board when Palestinian terrorist Abed al-Hadi Ghaneim, a 25 year old from Gaza riding with us, hijacked the commuter vehicle - attacking the driver, seizing the steering wheel, and sending the bus careening off the side of a steep cliff. The driver tried to fight back as the Palestinian terrorist screamed out the name of his friend injured in the First Intifada, but it was too late. The vehicle tumbled 300 feet - with all the passengers inside - before landing at the bottom of a ravine and bursting into flames. Many of the passengers were flung from the windows during the fall, or when we hit the ground. Some of us remained trapped inside when the bus caught on fire. Those not killed by the impact were burned alive.
In 2011, the Palestinian terrorist - who survived the terror attack, stood trial in an Israeli Court, and was sentenced to life for injuring 27 passengers and killing 16 innocent civilians including myself - was released in exchange for a soldier from the Israel Defense Forces who had been kidnapped by Hamas. After his release, my sister Ruhama stood firm in her belief that, “there is no price for our soldiers.”
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